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Bloomsbury Festival 2021 Announces Full Line Up Of Events


The Festival is partnering with local cultures including the Bangladeshi and other South Asian communities to highlight their achievements and artists.

Bloomsbury Festival 2021 Announces Full Line Up Of Events

Over 100 performances, talks, walks and exhibitions unearth the stories of new arrivals, rebels, women, refugees, cultural groups, freethinkers, alongside ground-breaking science, and contributions from artists and scientists working with people with visual impairments, in an outstanding programme which launches in full today.

The 2021 Festival programme places the stories of the people, places and cultures of Bloomsbury in the foreground, taking the great creative talent of local established institutions and adding in the emerging talent with new themes and threads - shining light on the tradition of freethinking and celebrating the 'rebels' within Bloomsbury and the surrounding areas.

Exhibitions and plays about women are featured - those who have been prominent both in the community and internationally, alongside lesser heard women's voices including some who have been wrongly accused of insurrection and even murder. Highlights include I, Minnie Lansbury, by Bren Gosling, a play commissioned by The George Lansbury Trust with an accompanying talk; an outdoor performance telling the story of Eliza Fenning, a cook hanged in 1815 for attempting to poison her employers; and a series of walks uncovering the stories of the famous and not-so famous residents of Bloomsbury, past and present.

The Festival is partnering with local cultures including the Bangladeshi and other South Asian communities to highlight their achievements and artists, alongside offering a new generation of local young people the opportunity to work alongside leading creatives. 2021 marks 50 years of Bangladeshi independence and several celebratory events take place during the Festival, including an outdoor event at the British Library and an outdoor exhibition, curated by the community, that tells the stories of migration from Bangladesh to Camden,

Bloomsbury Festival are working with scientists and academics to give us a new perspective on light with a two day Shining Light Discovery Hub at University of London's Senate House, including interactive exhibitions from numerous partners for families and schools, and talks aimed at audiences 12+.

The festival's year round New Wave programme supports emerging creative talent in the area, with a new theatre writing bursary scheme, an exhibition featuring the winners of a Fine Art competition, a weekend of new theatre from six emerging companies to be presented at RADA Studio theatre, and an outstanding programme of music.

Festival director Rosemary Richards said, "It is really a pleasure to see how the full programme has taken shape after our early discussions with partners, and how our theme, Shining Light, has enabled us to take new paths into the cultural community, provide new opportunities and exciting events. The festival brings together over 100 partners presenting events, talks and exhibitions and we hope that the programme will offer every audience member something new and surprising that will change the way they think about the world around them, and how we understand the world our neighbours inhabit in Bloomsbury."

A world class local festival Bloomsbury Festival has a distinctive creative programme made by the artists, academics and residents of London's premiere cultural quarter. Many of the Festival events are FREE to attend. 2021 sees the festival engage with new partnerships within the community, and with some of Bloomsbury's major institutions including UCL, University of London, The Bedford Estates, and the British Library.`

@bloomsburyfest |

Listings information

15 - 24 October 2021

Various Venues across Bloomsbury, London | 0203 2806905

Tickets prices vary, including a number of free and unticketed events.


Bloomsbury Festival OPENING EVENTS

Presented by Bloomsbury Festival

Lights, Banners, Tigers - Live on Cromer Street

15 October | 6.30pm - 8.30pm | Live

Cromer Street, Kings Cross, London WC1H 8JS

Live on Cromer Street includes a procession of Bengali silk banners, kinetic tigers, and musicians; with neon sculptures, live video projection and performance. This outdoor event celebrates the local community and its many diverse cultures, and is presented in partnership with local organisations, and alongside celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh. With artwork from artists Chila Kumari Singh Burman, aerosol artist Mohammed Ali, and performance from international arts companies Kinetika, Shademakers UK, Arunima Kumar Dance. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Camden Council.

Free | Suitable for all ages

Presented by NW Live Arts:

Music & Place ' Belonging'

15 October | 7.30pm | Live and Digital

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

NW Live Arts offer a fantastic melee of different types of music from different cultures interlaced with poetry readings exploring the meaning of 'belonging'. NW Live Arts and Bloomsbury Festival are working with writer, John Simmons from Bloomsbury based writing group 26, who has led and facilitated the creative writing workshops in preparation for this concert and partners Holborn Community Association and STAR students from Birkbeck University.

£12 - £10 | Suitable for all ages

Other Bloomsbury Festival Productions

Bangladesh 50 at The British Library - A Celebration

17 October | 4.30pm to 8pm

British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB

A free event in the outdoor piazza and large indoor foyer spaces featuring Mela performers, high profile speakers, Bangladeshi food, poetry, film screenings and projections. This unique event marks the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Bangladesh. It is presented by the Bloomsbury Festival in partnership with British Library, Camden Mela, King's Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Come and enjoy entertainment through the late afternoon into the evening with activities for all ages.

Free | Suitable for all ages

Shining Light Discovery Hub at Senate House

22 - 23 October | 10am to 5pm

Senate House Library, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

An opportunity for all to engage with some of Bloomsbury's outstanding discoveries, creativity and places of learning. Browse the exhibits and learn from some of the leading Bloomsbury academics and creative talent, as we focus on light, in all its meanings over two days. Enjoy interactive exhibitions, displays, and workshops in the beautiful, spacious and dramatic setting of the University of London's Senate House. Exhibitors include UCL science departments, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Central St Martin's Design Students, SOAS Origami Society with activities including astronomy, physics, eye science, medical imaging, design, origami, museums object handling, silk painting, craft skills and family activities.

Free | Suitable for all ages

Store Street Feast

22 October | 12pm to 3pm

Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BT

A feast of an event on Store Street. Enjoy a long Friday lunch as this unique street of independent cafes, shops and restaurants, gets the Bloomsbury Festival feel with toe-tapping lunchtime entertainment. Only a stone's throw from the West End, Store Street is a hidden gem with a very special local flavour. For one afternoon only, Bloomsbury Festival invites you to enjoy dance and music from around the globe, discover unexpected artistic enchantments inside the independent shops along the street, and sample an array of delights as we enjoy a traffic-free afternoon of fun and food. Supported by The Bedford Estates.

Free | Suitable for all ages

Music Events

Amies Freedom Choir

16 October| 3pm | Live

Holy Cross Church, 98 Cromer St, London WC1H 8JU

The award-winning Amies Freedom Choir is an ensemble for female survivors of human trafficking to come together and sing. Directed by Adwoa Dickson with co-musical director Anna Samant, the choir meets weekly to sing, create, perform and make recordings. We focus on learning through singing; skills such as teamwork and confidence, in a supportive environment. Hear the choir in this concert as they sing to find freedom and joy and pass it on to you.

Free | Must Pre-book | Suitable for all ages

New Wave Lunchtime Concert: Charlie Lovell-Jones (violin) and Ariel Lanyi (piano)

16 October | 1pm | Live and Digital

The Music Room & online

Charlie Lovell-Jones and Ariel Lanyi perform two sonatas by Brahms and Strauss, exploring warmth, melancholy, and heroism in late 19th Century Germany. Presented by Bloomsbury Festival as part of the New Wave programme, a platform for emerging talent.

Free | Must Pre-book

SOAS Concert series present

Celebrating 50 years of Bangladesh with Khiyo and special guests

16 October | 7pm | Live and Digital

Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

British-Bengali band Khiyo will be joined on the stage by Sahana Bajpaie to perform an array of Bengali songs and eclectic music, in celebration of fifty years of the existence of Bangladesh.

£10 (£5)

A modern view of ancient Ireland - Robert Finegan (saxophone) and Tara Viscardi (harp)

17 October | 7pm

Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square London WC1N 3AT

Journey through the history, culture and music of Ireland from early folk music to new works using modern technology. Includes a new set of three works commissioned by Robert Finegan for saxophone and electronics, based on the theme of 'A Modern View of Ancient Ireland'.

£8 (£6)

Lighthouse of Illusions

20 October | 1pm | Live and Digital

Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

Ten new piano pieces by ten composers from all around the globe, performed by pianist, composer, and creative producer, Marisa Muñoz-López, and accompanied by specially created illusions by magician Markhele.


Nobody's Jig

21 October | 8pm | Live and Digital

The Harrison, 28 Harrison St, London WC1H 8JF

An evening of 17th and 18th century folk music from across the UK, Ireland, and central Europe, from the music of the early Irish blind harpers to the songs of the 17th century French court.

£12 - £10

New Wave Lunchtime Concert: Siyu Sun (piano)

21 October | 1pm | Live and Digital

The Music Room & online

Song-inspired, heartfelt, poetic piano music from the wonders of Schubert and Liszt. Presented by Bloomsbury Festival as part of the New Wave programme, a platform for emerging talent.

Free | Must Pre-book

New Wave Lunchtime Concert: The Spiritual in Songs - Clara Barbier Serrano

22 October | 1pm | Live and Digital

The Music Room & online

Three very different approches to the search for spirituality in song with Debussy's Ariettes oubliées, Schönberg's Four songs op.2 and Barber's Hermit Songs. Presented by Bloomsbury Festival as part of the New Wave programme, a platform for emerging talent.

Free | Must Pre-book

Ensemble Matters Presents

Shades of Light

22 October | 7.30pm | Live and Digital

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

This concert marks the culmination of Ensemble Matters's year-long preparation around their theme of the year, "Shades of Light". The programme boasts two world premieres in response to the theme: composer Amy Crankshaw's nature-inspired chamber work, Golden Hour, and artist Alondra Ruiz-Hernandez's short film inspired by Rachmaninoff's tone poem, Isle of the Dead.

£12 - £10

New Wave Lunchtime Concert: Duo Fantaisie - Lavinnia Rae (cello) and Iain Clarke (piano)

23 October | 1pm | Live and Digital

The Music Room & online

Duo Fantaisie aim to combine the popular canonic duo works with contemporary, ground-breaking new music, They will perform works by Manuel De Falla, and New Zealand composer Gareth Farr. Presented by Bloomsbury Festival as part of the New Wave programme, a platform for emerging talent.

Free | Must Pre-book

Scriabin - complete piano sonatas

23 October | 3pm

Pushkin House

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alexander Scriabin, one of Russia's greatest composers, this is a unique opportunity to hear all of his piano sonatas in one afternoon, performed by a team of internationally acclaimed pianists. Written over the span of just two decades (1892-1913) Scriabin's Sonatas represent a unique artistic journey.

£22 (£20)

SOAS Concert Series present

Beibei Wang and Guests

23 October | 7pm | Live and Digital

Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG & online

Genre-defying percussionist Beibei Wang is an acclaimed international virtuoso multi- percussionist, composer with both Chinese and British musical education background. Beibei is joined by special guests to celebrate the 100 Year anniversary of the Chinese Ceramics Society.

£12 (£5)


Nostalgia and Youth: Goodensemble

23 October | 7.30pm

London House, Goodenough College

A night of nostalgia and youth, featuring Chopin's youthful Piano Concerto No. 1 and music from Russia with themes of the past and remembering. With soloist Zhu Sun (Piano) and conductors Lucy Callen and Owen Ho.

£12 (£10)

London Handel Festival's Prize-winners Recital

24 October | 6pm | Live and Digital

Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ

A ravishing Handel recital from two of the most talented young singers from the baroque music world, Jerome Knox (baritone) and Ruairi Bowen (tenor), both finalists from the 2020 international Handel Singing Competition.

£12 - £10

Theatre and Dance Events

Presented by Backstory Ensemble Productions Ltd

I, Minnie Lansbury

16 October | 5pm | Live and Digital

RADA Studio Theatre, 16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX

A new one Act play written by Bren Gosling and commissioned by The George Lansbury Memorial Trust about The Poplar Councillor's Revolt of 1921. The Council refused to levy what they viewed as a grossly unjust rate set by London County Council and as a result were held in contempt. Thirty Councillors, including five women were jailed. Minnie Lansbury was one of them. This is the story of her incarceration and appalling treatment in Holloway prison along with heavily pregnant Cllr. Nellie Cressall, and three other women Councillors. 'Don't be afraid of the law...Wherever you see injustice make up your mind what you want to do and go for it! Accept no make believe.' Shedding a light on London's collective past to guide the future.

£12 - £10 | Suitable for ages 14+

With Associated Talk - Minnie Lansbury and the Poplar Rates Rebellion 100 Years On

1 6 October | 3pm | Live RADA Studio, 16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX

Presented by KR?'AN(T)S

The Cinnamon Shop

16 October | 1pm | | Live and Digital

The Studio Theatre, RADA Studios, 16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX & online

Inspired by the short stories of Bruno Schulz, The Cinnamon Shop explores memory, how memories are stored, re-experienced and how their vibrance is subject to degeneration and distortion over time, using a combination of physical performance, music and text.

£8 (£6)

Pascal Theatre Company and The Place Contemporary Dance School Presents

Dancing, talking, taboo!

16 October | Various times from 3pm-5pm | Live

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